Cat meows loudly at night and other questions

I’ll respond to the question in the title and four others.

1. Why does my cat meow loudly twice at night? This is another typical question from a cat owner. The fact that a cat meows “twice” is irrelevant really. This is more about a cat meowing at night when people are asleep or trying to get to sleep.

A cat who meows at night is either calling for his human companion and/or is confused. The confusion may be due to dementia. Old cats tend to call at night. The sound is sometimes more a howl than a meow. Cats are liable to call at night because they can be active at night while humans habitually sleep at night.

What to do about it? Personally if I heard my cat howling at night I would get up and comfort her. But I am retired and it doesn’t matter if I don’t get a good night’s sleep. For people who have to go to work, getting up at 2 am most nights is not really practical.

If the reason is dementia in a cat there is very little one can do about it as far as I know. As I said, you can comfort her but you can’t cure her.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

The response for the caretaker is tolerance, patience, love and the best care and attention that you can give. More attention will help.

Cat Howling At Night
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cat Howling At Night. Photo by SingChan

2. Which cat breed will cause the least mess in my home? This is a question that is in the minds of houseproud people who would like to keep a cat. Cat hair deposited on furniture is a reason for some people to not keep a cat.

A hairless cat such as the Sphynx might be attractive to such a person. But if a houseproud person dislikes hairless cats what can she do?

The answer is probably not to adopt a cat at all. Or change your mentality towards keeping your home perfect all the time. There are quite a number of people who are overly house proud; almost obsessively so. It does not pay to be overly houseproud as you spend your life dusting 😉 What kind of life is that? Life can and should be about achieving things and living life to the fullest you can. You don’t get prizes for being a good duster and floor cleaner.

The answer is with the person not the cat as all cats will shed fur and dander. It makes little difference if a cat is long or short haired. They all shed fur and create dander and allergens. The best cat for shedding is perhaps the Devon Rex but this is anecdotal evidence and not based on hard science. This cat can also have some bald patches from time to time.

3. My 9 month old male unneutered cat screams the house down all the time. Help.

Additional information: This cat is timid and does not spray. He walks around the house all the time.

His behavior seems to be related to the fact that he is a whole (not neutered) cat. Neutering a male cat (removal of testicles) results in:

  • a reduction in the cat’s sexual impulses;
  • a reduction in a desire to roam;
  • a reduction in aggressive behavior
  • an increase in affectionate behavior
  • less chance of being involved in a fight if he goes out and
  • an elimination (almost?) of the desire to mark territory by urine spraying.

So, the answer would be to neuter your cat and see what happens.

4. Nine month old non-neutered male tries to bite me while making a “whining” sound. Help.

Once again my guess is that this is an activity linked to his sexual impulses. Other than that it is just play and a desire to play coupled with vocalizations. Cats make a range of sounds and the sort of sounds cats make depends to a large extent on the individual cat. Have him neutered and see how his behavior changes.

5. Is cat panting a sign of asthma?

Scenario: Three kittens who play a lot. One of them pants during and after play while the others don’t. Does the one who pants have asthma?

It is almost certainly normal panting after and during hard exercise. The little guy who pants is probably dong more work and being more active than the other kittens even though this might not be apparent. Panting is normal and it helps cool the cat. Cats sometimes pant when anxious or frightened too.

Asthma affects 1% of cats (1 in 100), so is rare. An asthma attack is accompanied by wheezing and coughing. That is not the case here. It can be triggered by airborne allergens and heartworm.

Conclusion: this kitten is panting normally.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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5 Responses

  1. Marc says:

    My Gigi is the panting kitten in that scenario. Its exactly as described. She is the one panting pretty quickly while the other 2 almost never pant. I am a little worried about it and I wont play with her when she gets really out of breath, til she calms down a bit. I suspect you may be right that she is exerting more effort than the other two but sometimes it is nonetheless a little shocking to see her panting so quickly and easily and for so long. I therefore take into account your reasoning but with a grain of salt. I told the vet before her spay appointment about it and he said he would call me if there were any anomalies. The surgery went fine and there was no further mention of her breathing which I presume he listened to carefully. I love that cat so much that I can’t help but worry when she really pushes herself which she does during play – so I am cautious regardless of everything. I worry about her little heart.

    Finally I agree with Hairless Cat Girl – with regard to all of these questions it’s better to enter a cat caretaker 20 year contract alot better informed. Furthermore if you don’t understand that an unaltered male behaves in a certain way then you should not be allowed to adopt an unaltered cat, full stop. Only a neutered one for people who know little or nothing of the difference. Its exactly those people who then decide not to neuter their male since it is not going to have babies so what do they care right – “let him keep his manhood”. If they dont understand the other behaviour traits connected with it neutering versus not then they will literally probably not see any reason to neuter him.
    Peoples first cat is a learning experience and it’s fair enough to ask alot of things, it’s good actually. I think that in the US it should be a law that first time cat adopters only be allowed to neutered cat. I wonder how much of the stray and feral cat problem comes from irresponsible people not wanting to spend a bit of money or just being plain ignorant of the responsibility. Probably they get annoyed with their cat spraying and then get rid of him. Or if its female they get rid of her when she comes home pregnant. It’s a tragedy no words can even begin to quantify and I for one would take very seriously cat caretakers asking some of the above questions. Sorry to get super heavy on this one 🙂

  2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    There’s nothing more I can add, Michael and Liz you have said it all, having given very good advice and I too wish people would learn about basic cat care before taking in a cat.

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Ruth. We are a good team aren’t we? I love our group of “experts” 😉 I think we are experts, though. The core regular visitors who know cats well. More than that the regular visitors have a deep empathy for cats which informs us as to what the best advice should be.

  3. Hairless Cat says:

    Hi Michael,

    Good common issues to address for brand new cat parents – those that know next to nothing about cats. We all start at this point so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

    1. Cat yowls twice at night – Cats are nocturnal. When it gets dark, they go into hunting mode. Yowling at night is common for a cat. Most of our cats do that. Some of them will grab a cat toy and yowl frequently as they walk around with it in their mouth.

    Nothing to worry about in most cases.

    2. Cat sheds and owner can’t tolerate the mess – Yes, don’t have a cat or dog in your house. If you’re intolerant of pet hair, then keep fury animals out of your home.

    Alternatively, your cat should be brushed more often during the week. This might bring shedding to a tolerable level.

    As you pointed out, a hairless cat is an alternative but you’ll have to bathe them every week along with tending to their additional special needs.

    Bottom line is if you can’t tolerate a little pet hair on furniture, clothes, and on your hands, then don’t get a cat.

    3. Unneutered male cat yowls – Lots of potential issues here.

    It could be due to a medical issue. It could be that he is lonely. It could be that he is scared of something in the house or just outside the house.

    First, take the cat to the vet. He needs a routine checkup at least once a year anyhow and since he’s 9 months old, it’s about time to get him seen.

    If there are no medical issues, get the cat fixed. Understand that it takes several months for the “excess” hormones to clear out, so he won’t stop yowling for a time.

    If he is still yowling several months later (I don’t recall how long it takes for the extra hormones to leave the body) then you might change a few things in his daily routine such as: Playing with him more often, changing to a higher quality diet, emptying the litter box more often, getting him another cat companion, etc…

    4. Unfixed 9 month old male cat “bites” me – Could be play biting, a love bite, or that he needs to get neutered.

    Regardless of the cause, get him fixed right away.

    5. Is cat panting a sign of asthma? – Probably not in this case. Like you said, he probably just plays hard and runs out of breath. Most of my cats do during play.

    Conclusion – It’s not good for the cat to put the cart before the horse. Best thing to do in each case is to become better educated about basic cat care and the basic understanding of cats. Cat books, Cat forums, and cat blogs should be looked at quite a bit before adopting a cat. The wise and ethical thing to do is to properly prepare first, then get the cat.

    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

    • Michael says:

      Brilliant comment. Thanks Liz. You just add a bit, and a very valuable bit, to the article which rounds it off. I hope we have helped some cat owners here. I believe we have.

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